Vegas music, the old way

If you’re any kind of fan of live music in Vegas, I’ll see you at the most exciting local venue to emerge in years: Book & Stage at the Cosmopolitan. Sports book by day, indie-leaning rock club by night (hence the name), B & S is doing live music the old-school Vegas lounge way: booking bands for multiple-night engagements (rather than mere one-offs) during which they’ll play two sets a night. Also, no cover and no drink minimums! (Yeah, I know, I’m still pinching myself over that one.) Combine all this with free parking and the rare pleasure of hanging out in a brand-new, cool-looking casino on the Strip and you have an unforgettable evening on your hands.

So I’m super-stoked to see the acclaimed dark surf-pop trio Best Coast’s nightly Book & Stage performances Jan. 5-8. The band’s 2010 full-length debut, Crazy for You, featured prominently in many critics’ Top 10 lists, and for damn good reason. (Hell, I gave the album four out of five stars back in July.) Singer/guitarist Bethany Consentino writes the best melancholy summertime retro-pop songs laced with distortion and reverb, like Jesus & Mary Chain savaging a Buddy Holly fakebook. It’s razor-bladed candy to my ears and a grand way to kick off the New Year. The hourlong sets start at 10 p.m. and midnight, but I’ll be there early to get properly lit.

Off-Strip it’s an equally compelling week of music. On Jan. 7, I look forward to getting my ambient-shoegaze-guitar-miasma on at someplace I’ve never heard of called Hypnotic Lounge (5752 S. Fort Apache Road). Las Vegas experimental post-rock act Onward! Astronomer will be performing, and I’ve been intrigued by their MySpace-posted epic instrumental “Swimming in the Flood,” especially during the rainy holiday week here in town. Another strangely fascinating band, Interior Astronaut, is on the bill, and their powerful track “Hell Is a Real Place” sounds divine. Fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky will dig this show, I bet. Fun starts at 9 p.m., and there’s a $5 cover.

On Jan. 8, at all-ages venue, Yayo Taco (4632 S. Maryland Parkway, taco shop by day, metal/hardcore club by night), La Habra, Calif.’s The Funeral Pyre ignites its fierce brand of blackened death metal after a slew of opening Vegas acts—Life’s Torment, Spun in Darkness, Cerebral Incubation—each of which kills. The Funeral Pyre is doing a series of West Coast shows to push the vinyl release of its positively reviewed 2010 album, Vultures at Dawn. This is the band’s first Vegas appearance since the tragic tour van accident on Aug. 2 that killed Early Grave’s singer Makh Daniels mere weeks after both bands had played Lucky Lady Bar & Grill on Decatur. Shaken but not shattered, the Pyre’s grim outlook on life will likely be even more caustic—perhaps even cathartic. Can’t wait for this one. Show starts at 7 p.m. and admission is $5.

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